IBF Net Group that hosts the Islamic Business and Finance Network has been adjudged winner of the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2021 in the ‘Best Emerging Islamic FinTech Platform’ category. IBF Net is the world’s oldest online community of researchers and professionals in the field of Islamic business and finance. It was founded in the year 1999 by Dr. Mohammed Obaidullah, the India-born Islamic finance expert, currently serving the Islamic Development Bank Group as a Lead Research Economist. In the year 2007, IBF Net received the Global Excellence in Islamic Finance Award from the International Islamic Finance Forum held in Dubai for being the maiden provider of online certification courses in Islamic finance. Twelve years later, IBF Net moved to Malaysia with the establishment of its flagship, the International Institute of Islamic Business and Finance with a mission to “leverage research and technology to build a halal ecosystem”. IBF Net (Malaysia) heavily focuses on empowerment and capacity building offering e-learning and certifications in Islamic social finance and technology. Its zakat management certification is accredited by the Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) Malaysia.
In 2020, it set up a new entity IBF DigiLabs (Singapore) under a strategic technology partnership with Algorand Inc, a US-based blockchain platform with a clear mandate to develop solutions for the Islamic financial services sector based on blockchain and AI. 2021 witnessed the merger of several IBF Net social media networks into a parent Network under a new entity called IBF Net (Ireland) to implement its solutions in the context of a replicable “miniature Islamic economy”. With this mandate IBF Net is developing smart-contract based solutions and use cases in line with the trichotomy of an Islamic economy into philanthropy, not-for-profit and for-profit segments.
“We are honored to have received this award in addition to garnering multiple grants and support from global industry leaders like Algorand. The fact that this support is coming from outside the Islamic finance industry shows that we have been on the right track to build and demonstrate a smart-contract based miniature economic and financial system bound by Islamic morals and ethics”, says Mohammed Alim, CEO of IBF Net.
The latest support from Algorand takes the form of selection of IBF Net into its Accelerator Program offered by the Silicon Valley based Draper University that also comes with a liberal grant from the Algorand Foundation plus investment from its VC-subsidiary Borderless Capital. This also accompanies the successful admission of IBF Net team into FIKRA, the first Islamic Fintech Accelerator 2021 program launched by the UN Capital Development Fund and the Securities Commission Malaysia for its innovative solution for the Islamic capital market on the measurement and scoring of impact in the light of objectives (Maqasid) of Shariah and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) involving an innovative application of green/social cryptos.
IBF Net develops smart contracts based solutions that are replicable and customizable. More importantly, these are meant to solve real problems in the “real economy” and hence, are expected to earn the appreciation of Islamic economists who insist on a strong linkage being maintained at all times between the financial and the real economy for any form of financial contracting to be acceptable.